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I think that for students who are following a vocational route, exams are of little importance unless they want to enter the Genee or Phyllis Bedells competitions etc, for which they need to have passed the highest level RAD vocational exams with distinction. The very fact that they have been selected for such a rigorous training, amidst so much competition - especially for the RBS and Elmhurst, which as Billyelliott says are mainly focused on classical ballet - means that it will be recognized that their ballet training is being undertaken at a very high level.

 

For students who are not following a vocational route - or not yet following such route - exams are more important as they are a recognized and non-biased way of assessing the level at which students are working. Although exams are not necessary to gain a place in vocational training (or even in a company), a huge percentage of dancers will not be suited to vocational training or to classical ballet as a career - and those who have exam results have tangible proof of their accomplishments. Those who want to train as syllabus (and free work) dance teachers need to have certain exam passes under their belt. I am always surprised that some dance schools concentrate on festivals almost to the exclusion of all else; yes, performing experience is important but for the huge majority of non-vocational dance students, their future progress will require high level exam passes and festival wins, whilst lovely, will not be of importance.

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I should add that in today's climate exam results, whether correctly or not, are the barometer by which accomplishments and success in any sphere are evaluated. You may be dancing at what is described as an advanced level at a non-vocational school where exams are not taken, but that evaluation will depend on the dance school you attend, the abilities of your peers there, etc. With an exam result you have some means by which to prove your ability level against dancers from other schools (and worldwide, certainly for RAD and Cecchetti exams, I don't know how international other exam boards are). And that I would think that All England or similar top-level festival successes would have some value.

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Thank you legseleven for the ballencing comments about exams !

I should have said , but it was the early hours.....that they were only not important at this particular stage during the audition year and the only reason DS did not focus on exams was that the grade 4 class clashed with his orchestra commitments and so he attended the inter foundation class instead as his teacher pointed out that it was not that important in the grand scheme of things .....

Had he failed to get a year 7 place he would have continued to do RAD exams and has just started the RAD lessons again at Elmhurst !

Edited for spelling !

Edited by Billyelliott
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I have to say that I really do not think that exams matter.  My daughter stopped doing the RAD exams at 10 and went into vocational ballet (YDA) and there are no exams at all.  It is performance based and the classes are never the same.  Consequently they end up being very quick at picking up new steps, etc. 

 

My daughter is an SA, was offered Elmhurst at 11, got to Royal finals for Year 8, has finals at Elmhurst and Central for Upper School and is doing the auditions for ENB and Royal in the next month.

 

Those from her school has graduated to Royal, ENB, Elmhurst, Central, etc. and the lack of exams has never been an issue.

 

I think it is how you audition on the day and all usuals things, turnout, feet, musicality, potential, etc.

 

I think it is nice to have the exams, particulary if you want to teach at some stage, but again not essential.

 

They really are looking for potential at year 7, children really are taken in having done almost no ballet and always a bit easier for boys, as there is less competition.

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Re exams - it's also worth remembering that the higher grades are awarded UCAS points, which could come in useful when applying for university/higher education courses on leaving school :)

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I just wanted to clarify for Hammond that lower school are either dance or drama.  There is no musical theatre strand for lower school.  The focus for dance is ballet but they do some tap & modern also.  There are plenty of students at 16 who continue with classical ballet as a career path.  If you read this thread back from the start I think posters with experience of the schools give details of what type of dance classes are offered at Elmhurst, Hammond & Tring.

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Thank you Billyelliott! Yes I realise that a lot of the JA boys will not get places. A friend of mine had a son at Elmhurst from age 11 but at 14 he decided he wanted to leave. He was a very talented dancer but lost interest. My ds is very lucky to have such a fantastic regular (ex principal RBS male) dance teacher. I can identify with what you are saying about being with other like-minded boys. My ds has experienced a few problems at his primary because of his ballet but thankfully the majority of his friends have been quite good but of course there is gentle teasing which does annoy him. We have now done the White Lodge audition and have Elmhurst on 22nd January. Did your ds get in the first time he auditioned and how old is he? Thank your for clearing up MDS, I have a lot to learn!

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Yes Mvo Billyelliott - he got in first time at year 7 and is only in his second term and he is still only 11 and quite short for his age ...you may spot him on the 22nd who knows - is a golden brown with curly hair ....

I was concerned at first that the discipline of just ballet might make him loose interest , but there is definately more variety there than there used to be and he simply loves boarding , also he is well aware of how lucky he is to be there . So far the discipline has not knocked the joy of dance (or the X factor ) out of him as his Modern dance teacher feared .....he also has been given permission to do Modern work in the Easter holiday for the Sussex festival which he is looking forward to !

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That's wonderful, he must be very talented! My son is also small for his age which I thought may be a problem for ballet. I was amazed when we went to RBS lower school on a two day course how many "small for age"boys were there.sorry if you have already said this in an earlier post but how long has he been dancing and did he audition anywhere else?

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Dancing from birth ! But lessons since he was 4

Only other audition was for WL as we knew nothing of the others !

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My quote thingy's not working, but just going back a bit Balletmumfor2, post 85.....  Tierney Heap did go to Elmhurst for three years before going to another dance school and then RB Upper School

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Just to say that my dd is primarily a ballet dancer and I feel the ballet training she is getting at the Hammond is excellent. She has absolutely no interest in musical theatre and goes to vocational school purely for the dance.

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WL like the boys to be small!

 

Back to exams for a moment (although this is probably a topic for a separate thread).  Looking at most local dance schools - the majority of their students are going to be dancing recreationally and exams are something to aim for, and nice to see what result they can get.  Certainly, since my daughter gave up her aspirations of being a dancer at about 11, she has carried on working hard towards her RAD and ISTD dance exams and likes to get the highest mark she can (the same as with music exams - I'm sure most people who take them aren't trying to get into music college or have a career as a musician).

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Not sure WL like the boys to be small, the majority of boys in DC 's year were very tall , and the year below even taller, I think it all depends on talent and potential whether tall or short.

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I'm not saying they're all small - my son and a few of his year group were the tall ones, but they do like their petite dancers IMHO (male and female).  But of course there are always exceptions.

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That's interesting All4dancers as we hadn't considered Hammond as my ds is only interested in classical ballet and I was under the impression that it was aimed more for students also interested in musical theatre.

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I think some of the subjects on offer at Gmmond not only benefit the children such as my dd who want to do musical theatre but the more ballet minded to. After all a drama class helps all form of dance, ballet tells a story with characters after all.

 

In Year 7 at Hammond the children get 7 ballet classes per week, 2 tap, 2 modern, 2 Pilates, 1 stretch, 1 drama & 1 vocal training.

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I think people assume it is more musical theatre because lower school students do get the opportunity to take part in musical theatre productions if they wish and because obviously they offer a diploma in musical theatre aswell as the diploma in dance for their professional students (16+) However the lower school dancers do have a dance show each summer with the diploma dance students.  They also still have the opportunity to take RAD exams at the school, up to and including advanced 2.

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dd is in Y9 and although has a couple of modern and tap lessons a week, has more ballet in place of pilates and stretch.  I don't think any of the schools do pure classical ballet all the time, I am sure (although I am happy to be corrected) even WL do National dance.  I think dancers need to be very versatile today, even if their heart lies with classical.  

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Does anyone know how long you have to wait to find out results from White Lodge auditions please?

Hi, if memory serves my right I'm sure it is when they have finished auditioning at every venue.

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Hi, if memory serves my right I'm sure it is when they have finished auditioning at every venue.

HI all. We were told yesterday at DD WL audition, that letters would arrive within a week or two for decisions on whether the dancers are through to the second audition in Richmond. (Bath centre)

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HI all. We were told yesterday at DD WL audition, that letters would arrive within a week or two for decisions on whether the dancers are through to the second audition in Richmond. (Bath centre)

Yes we were at bath auditions for WL yesterday too and told the same...a week or two for full time but decisions about associate courses will take longer but will be before Easter. Very very competitive warming up sessions going on yesterday :-) definitely not for the faint hearted ....felt sorry for some poor souls that clearly didn't want to enter the warm up studio :-(

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Yes we were at bath auditions for WL yesterday too and told the same...a week or two for full time but decisions about associate courses will take longer but will be before Easter. Very very competitive warming up sessions going on yesterday :-) definitely not for the faint hearted ....felt sorry for some poor souls that clearly didn't want to enter the warm up studio :-(

 

I'm not sure which class you were attending Amandalou, maybe a later class for the older Mid Associates? We were the first class, so mostly JAs trying for MIDs year 7. From my point of view it's difficult to see what is competitive warming up and what is simply injury avoidance. I encourage my DD to warm up and stretch because the body is stiff that early and I know she will be asked to do the splits!

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I'm not sure which class you were attending Amandalou, maybe a later class for the older Mid Associates? We were the first class, so mostly JAs trying for MIDs year 7. From my point of view it's difficult to see what is competitive warming up and what is simply injury avoidance. I encourage my DD to warm up and stretch because the body is stiff that early and I know she will be asked to do the splits!

 

I wasnt at the auditions yesterday but from my experience some will warm up quietly and in their own space, others will make a very grand exhibition of their warming up process - often encouraged by over-enthusiastic parents - becomes a battle of the minds, good luck to everyone awaiting their results.

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Yes it was a later older year group than yours and don't get me wrong I Agree with the whole warming up thing to prevent injury and enhance performance and my DD doesn't mind the competitiveness either as she can hold her own when she's got her ballet shoes on :-) I did find it a very competitive group (more so than normal) and even overheard a parent who I have seen at other events making a comment about my DD and sadly DD overheard her too. Luckily it made her more determined and didn't affect her performance. There were definitely children that didn't want to go into the warm up room as they felt intimidated as I saw it, which is a shame.

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We've had some discussion about this in the past after we heard that the RBS had told students (or was it parents?) that they definitely shouldn't be stretching before an audition because they'd do what was necessary in the warm-up section before the panel start assessing them.  Wish they'd "police" the warm-up area a bit more maybe to discourage too much.

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Well Amandalou, shame on the mother who made a comment about your dd!!! I don't know what is wrong with these people. but they are shocking examples of good behaviour to their children. We are relatively knew to this process as my ds has only been doing ballet for less that 2.5 years and a RBS JA for the last two but some parents amaze me. RBS etc know what they are looking for and no amount of back-biting/ bitterness amongst parents is going to make any difference. There is a girl who dances with my ds. She was chosen for Nutcracker and is obviously talented but her parents are unbelievable!!! After looking around White Lodge and having the privilege to watch year 11 girls practicing he actually said that he didn't think the dancing was up to standard. We are all at the mercy of these vocational schools and if some people could be a little more gracious it would be so much nicer. Always be nice to people when you are on the way up. You may meet them again one day when you are on your way back down.

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So true. Dh (a teacher at a vocational school who previously taught at drama /dance colleges) has come across several ex students as he also sometimes accompanies professional auditions.

 

His opinion is asked!

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